Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View gwynfryn's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • How Facebook Could Kill The News Brand [View article]
    They can always invite their users to send in news articles, which seems to be the trend, where newspapers are concerned. It wouldn't do much to maintain quality of writing, but that's going down the drain, anyway, given how many articles are now done automatically. Expect to see many more examples of lines like "This soldier's helmet saved his life "after" (?) it was hit by a bullet. Surely, it should have been "when"? Or did it unstrap itself and give him first aid?
    Mar 25, 2015. 09:45 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Messenger Is Now Equipped With Payments: Where I Was Wrong, Right, And Way Off [View article]
    Come off it, R; you don't make any profit by just holding the money. It has to be invested, or loaned out, and both of those take a great deal of effort and knowledge, which also costs.
    Mar 25, 2015. 09:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Messenger Is Now Equipped With Payments: Where I Was Wrong, Right, And Way Off [View article]
    "Facebook could easily make 5% on the deposits"? Really, M? Automating accounts is one thing, but loaning money quite another, as it requires massive man power and experience. I'd expect they'd have to go into partnership with one of the TBTFs, and they'd want their labours compensated for, as well as their cut of the profits, so given today's rock bottom rates, I very much doubt FB would make much on it!
    Mar 25, 2015. 09:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sandstorm Gold's Aurizona Stream: Why It Failed And What The Industry Can Learn [View article]
    Maybe, but the way I read it, they'd have done better to cancel any payments altogether, to give Luna the maximum chance of recovering; it has potential for a "spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar" outcome.
    Mar 25, 2015. 09:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sandstorm Gold's Aurizona Stream: Why It Failed And What The Industry Can Learn [View article]
    Interesting, JB, but do you think they made enough to cover a moratorium on payments for the next few years, to see if Luna can recover? I know they've already agreed a reduction, but it may not be enough.
    Mar 25, 2015. 09:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sandstorm Gold's Aurizona Stream: Why It Failed And What The Industry Can Learn [View article]
    Hence the 5% rule! Diversification makes perfect sense to me, as making a small but steady profit, overall, is safer in the long run than going for big occasional kills, which may well become crippling losses
    Mar 24, 2015. 01:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Messenger Is Now Equipped With Payments: Where I Was Wrong, Right, And Way Off [View article]
    Apple Pay was a late arrival itself!
    Mar 24, 2015. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Giving Away Free BlackBerry 10 OS To Android Phone Users Could Be Decisive [View article]
    Eh FS? You mean it would make it lighter and faster?
    Mar 21, 2015. 11:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook tops $84; Messenger reportedly turning into developer platform [View news story]
    I'm with bj, and defend his right to comment here; FB's value is largely illusory (if remarkably steadfast)! As stated, a valuation of $450 per user is absurd.
    Mar 21, 2015. 10:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Messenger Is Now Equipped With Payments: Where I Was Wrong, Right, And Way Off [View article]
    Do please do that, BN, as simply informing anyone that they are going to receive a bank transfer, makes no sense to me. Surely, the simplest solution would be for FB to become an online bank?
    Mar 21, 2015. 10:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook Messenger Is Now Equipped With Payments: Where I Was Wrong, Right, And Way Off [View article]
    They'll have a hard time getting many to pay for what is now a free service; they should have charged a small fraction of what WU do, if that's the model they are going to use!
    Mar 21, 2015. 10:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook's China Campaign [View article]
    Let’s try another; now that robots exist that can produce customised burgers, faster, cheaper, more reliably and hygienically, do you think this will lead to "lead to a better life for all" burger flippers? There's a human cost, and those who installed their looms were not doing it for our benefit, but for their own, regardless of the consequences to those who found themselves deprived of the means to pay the rent and put food on the table.

    Process or not, it can have hidden consequences. Take parametric CAD; click a few points and add dimensions, and the machine does most of the rest for you. A good thing? Management seem to think so, citing better drawing standards, and greater productivity/lower costs, but consider this: When I was just getting into this, in the early 90s, my favourite was Cadkey, a simple 3D wireframe, with which I could draw whatever I could picture in my mind’s eye, and that would be the whole product. Nowadays, most of these improved drawings are produced by low paid draughtsmen who don't have that capacity, so what does that do to the product itself, the quality of which depends not on the quality of the drawings, but on the mind that produces them?

    Peter Theil likes to point out that outside of computing, progress has pretty much ground to a halt in recent decades, and here's one of the reasons! Less able designers lack the capacity to innovate, and so produce designs which are conventional (management don't mind this; they are easy for them to understand and take credit for) being heavier, more costly to produce, more complicated (and thus less reliable) than the sort of stuff I used to produce. The result (or would be, in a rational world) is fewer items sold, at less profit per unit, and with more returns and recalls. That's a strange kind of progress from where I'm looking!
    The other consequence is that people like myself are finding it tougher to find work of any kind, and have been pretty much excluded from the product development process, leaving the World a much poorer place than it would otherwise had been, had management put their effort into maximizing the use of human talent, rather than in cutting corners, and making life easier for themselves…
    Mar 21, 2015. 09:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry's Latest Device Is A Samsung Tablet [View article]
    Sales pitch, Az? Where?
    Mar 21, 2015. 09:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry's Latest Device Is A Samsung Tablet [View article]
    BM, that should be "...are no criteria" (plural) and in fact there are criteria, specified by SA. We have to feel sorry for Michael if you really are a lot smarter than him. Never mind, congratulations on the amazing improvement in your writing style in recent posts...
    Mar 21, 2015. 09:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook's China Campaign [View article]
    DB, I received this morning a form to fill in, which I've completed and returned at least four times now. Why? Because the numbers provided by my gas supplier on my bills doesn't correspond with what the refund provider expects. I suspect it's because the point of supply n° has 14 digits (and several spaces) doesn't complete the 15 boxes provided on the form. Yes, something as simple and stupid as that! Every time I've attached letters pointing this out, and that I can only give them the information provided, but evidently they don't get read!

    I have no objection to automation as such; it's the way they are implemented that goes SNAFU, and when it happens, the tendency is that they stay SNAFU, as no one seems to feel the need to monitor and correct or evolves these systems. They do need to evolve, as things are in constant change (as R points out) and treating a static system as if it's infallible is a recipe for disaster!

    If you think the rebate thing is bad enough (and a 100 € lost is no laughing matter...) I could write you a book (and probably will) about the saga of trying to get information about my mother's estate after she died (without success, though I'm legally entitled to it) that would make your hair curl (if you've got any)! The problem is the human factor, wherein non technical people (i.e. the sort of person you are likely to have to deal with, in any customer or client facing activity) have an unrealistic expectation that these automated procedures and the like have been carefully checked for fitness for purpose and legal conformity, which from the last decade or so of experience, I have to conclude is not the case!

    Let me give you some examples: A Mrs Wink (I kid you not) when asked for the contact details for my mother’s health visitor, insisted that I provide her job title and the authority she worked for. Does that seem reasonable? It isn't, on two counts; I don't have that information (but Mrs Wink could lift it directly from my mother’s file) and secondly, if I did, I would have been able to contact her directly. When I requested information from my mother's health records, it was refused. I asked on what grounds, and she produced a legal paragraph which states that I have an unconditional right to that access, without need for any justification (of which I had more than ample, and it's not as if it was sensitive information!) and then continued to refuse, having discussed my request with her legal advisors!!! Like most people in the UK, she believes the various data acts of the 80s and 90s (like the misleadingly named Data Protection Act, which was mostly to do with protecting the public's rights to access and verify any records about themselves, but way too many people now take "Data Protection" as an obligation for maintaining secrecy, and yet more as an excuse for doing nothing...) are about maintaining privacy, so she insisted I could get access only on production of a court order; there is no mechanism for obtaining such an order, as it is not a legal requirement! Do you begin to understand, now, the kind of nightmare that badly implemented automation can create?

    You want another? I contacted the holders of several of my mother's bank or savings accounts, asking for copies of the most recent statements. It's my inheritance, so I have a legal right to this information, and some of the banks (etc.) actually acknowledged this, but insisted I can only get this from my brother (who was first in the queue to obtain Power of Probate, and so got total control of the estate; another aspect of English Common Law that truly stinks, and which has been redundant since the invention of the telegraph {but it suits the legal professions not to amend this}) . This is not a legal requirement, it is merely a misunderstanding by whoever authored these procedures, but which no one cares to correct.

    To add insult to injury, when I tried to complain to the Financial Ombudsman, I was denied the right to do so, not having Power of Probate, nor being named executor of the Will. Both of these are instruments of the Court of Probate, which have no interest in accounts which have long since been emptied and thus rendered of no monetary value!
    Then the Court of Protection (another useless institution) put itself in breach of said Act by ignoring me request for information they had on me. Why? I’m guessing it’s because neither the author of the procedures, nor that of the check list the clerk must adhere, foresaw such a request would ever be made, and so it gets ignored...

    Do you get the picture now? It's as if everyone has bought a "one size fits all" piece of software (the same phrases kept cropping up, which ever office I dealt with) assumed it's made for their situation, and just run with it, warts and all. However good you may be as a software writer, if you don't take all these human issues and misperceptions into account (which would take a well read genius and polymath, and there aint too many around) then whatever you write will someday be badly implemented, and dystopias will result.

    I could go on, I've barely scraped the surface of how such systems have screwed with my entire life in recent years, and no one seems at all concerned; it's a serious and ever present danger, and at present, there seems no possibility of a remedy. Even if my book sells, I doubt it'll achieve much more than earning me a few bucks.
    There’s no going back, I agree, so by all means, let’s have automation; but please DB, try to understand that there’s a lot more to it than just getting the software to work; the implementation needs to be carefully thought through, too, and far more than is currently the case, so your facetious responses are out of order, given the seriousness of the possible consequences...
    Mar 20, 2015. 11:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment